Japan and the Koreas


Describe the location, economy, and culture of Japan
Explain why and how life in North Korea differs from life in South Korea.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 24: Japan and the Koreas

Japan is an archipelago off the coast of eastern Asia. The mountains of Japan are volcanic, but many are no longer active. Japan also suffers from frequent earthquakes because of its location on the Ring of Fire. Despite its lack of mineral resources, Japan has developed a strong industrial economy. Most of its citizens live in crowded cities.

The Korean Peninsula juts out from northern China, between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. Following World War II it was divided into two countries: Communist North Korea and non-Communist South Korea. South Korea has a strong industrial economy. The Communist government of North Korea has spent money and devoted resources to its military. As a result the country is economically poor.

     Quick Notes


Japan is made up of four main islands and thousands of smaller islands.
Japan lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences many earthquakes.
Japan's strong economy is based on manufacturing and trade.
Japan--a densely crowded country--holds a population almost half the size of the United States.
The Japanese follow modern ways of life but keep many of their traditions.
The religions of Shinto and Buddhism have influenced the Japanese arts.

The Two Koreas

The Korean Peninsula is divided between communist North Korea and noncommunist South Korea.
After World War II, communist troops from the Soviet Union took over the northern half of Korea. American troops occupied the southern half. Korea eventually divided along the 38th parallel.
Both Koreas have inland mountains and coastal plains.
Monsoon winds affect the climate of the Korea's, bringing hot weather in the summer and cold weather in winter.
South Korea has a booming free enterprise economy that exports many industrial goods to other countries.
A communist government controls North Korea's economy.
South Korea has about 45 million people; North Korea, about 23 million.
Most South Koreans practice Buddhism or the teachings of Confucius. Under communism, North Koreans are discouraged from practicing religion.

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